I’m running out of ways to introduce these things. I mean, how many times can I tell you that I’ve watched a bunch of different movies this week? How many times do I have to tell you to meet me after the jump before you actually do so? What am I gonna do next week when I don’t have this meta introduction to fall back onto?
After Hours (1985)
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Scorsese has been typecast in many of our minds as the kinetic chronicler of mafia misdeeds and unhinged characters. But in After Hours he demonstrates an aptitude for conveying the hallucinatory dreamscape of nightmares. In it, we follow Paul Hackett as he stumbles through one unfortunate situation to the next, never seeming to catch a break. A darkly hilarious and underrated entry from the best director to come out of the New Hollywood movement.
Directed by David Fincher
Finally, the man’s sensibilities match his material! I’m not one of the cult of Fincher who fail to find fault in any of his films. Rather, I am of the opinion that he is an excellent journeyman director whose yet to convince me of his auteur status. This is partly because all his films have the same aesthetic and tone, even when wholly inappropriate (why is The Curious Case of Benjamin Button such a downer?). But, in Zodiac, Fincher finally finds a narrative that plays to his strengths: the perfectionism, the cold observation, and the obsession with information.
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Directed by Quentin Tarantino
What more is there to say about this film? It’s Quentin Tarantino spitting in the face of the idea of a sophomore slump, and instead revolutionizing indie film, proving it a profitable endeavour. It’s a masterpiece by a master with quite a few under his belt.
Love & Mercy (2014)
Directed by Bill Pohlad
I love a good biopic, and gravely dislike one done badly. This is one of the good ones. It cleverly juxtaposes the collapse of the SMiLE sessions and Brian Wilson’s mental health, with the future revitalization of his career and eventual success in remaking SMiLE.
A Scanner Darkly (2006)
Directed by Richard Linklater
I don’t know, maybe Linklater just isn’t for me. Not that I disliked this movie. In fact, it’s probably the closest I’ve come to genuinely loving a Linklater film. The issue arises when you consider that perhaps any other director would be better suited to adapting this material. I’m definitely not a fan of the rotoscoping technique used here and in Waking Life.
Directed by David Cronenberg
This is an interestingly opaque film that, in my opinion, is an exploration of the Madonna/Whore complex. This is the idea that men primitively view women as either saintly virgins who are not to be sullied by the idea of sex, or they’re seen immoral, sexual domineers who use sex as a weapon against men. The central character in Spider is suffering from a nondescript mental illness, but what is clear by film’s end, is that he has issues viewing his mother as both a kind nurturer, and a sexual being. A subtly great film by a homegrown master.
Directed by Terrence Malick
Kill one man, you’re a murderer; kill any more and you’re a legend. Malick’s debut which beautifully illustrates the setting of the seeds that would blossom to become Malick’s signature style. There is the idiosyncratic narration, the love of nature, and the mythologizing of an American story. The most narrative-driven of all his films as Malick would later become a poet working through film.
Side Effects (2013)
Directed by Steven Soderbergh
Full review coming soon.